’s For Duncan’s MurderKing Essay, Research Paper
After careful thought I do not agree with King Duncan´s death marks the beginning of Macbeth´s downfall. Shakespeare emphasises throughout the play that Macbeth has free will and can choose whether “Chance will crown me”. I think his downfall began at the first meeting with the witches when he was “rapt withal” at the prospects they gave him. A major influence of the play was the new King James I. Shakespeare wished to compliment him so he carefully included James´ obsession with witches and some of his ancestors in it (Banquo). James even wrote a book on witches called Demonology. Shakespeare had fond At the time of Shakespeare people would have believed in witches and witchcraft. James himself believed he had an experience with witchcraft after he was at sea and there was a terrible storm that was supposedly been conjured by witches.
There are many influences on Macbeth which Shakespeare was to present his dilemma. He has a choice between what he knows he should do that is to remain loyal to his king and continue to assist his efforts to fight off invaders or to follow his ‘vaulting ambition´. There are 3 major influences, the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth´s ambition
When the witches came onto the stage in Shakespeare´s time the audience must have been shocked, amazed, scared of these horrible, ugly, disgusting hags. This would have set the mood of the play from the very beginning and made the audience a little weary. The oxymoron ‘fair is foul and foul is fair´ shows that problems are coming and they are connected with Macbeth (Macbeth had also said the same thing to Banquo about the battle) The modern day audience I feel would still be a little apprehensive towards the witches at the start. Even in modern day culture we still have myths of witches and festivals celebrating them e.g. Halloween. The part they played in Duncan´s murder was quite big. They made Macbeth realise his ‘dark side´ and they told him what he was capable of becoming. They didn´t directly tell him what he was going to do, they just said ‘All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter.´ Because of Banquo´s connection with King James I (Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great ……….. Grandfather) he was portrayed as the ‘good person´ in the play. This was shown when the witches first met him and Macbeth. Shakespeare was showing that a good man couldn´t be troubled by witches only a bad person could. Banquo immediately shrugged of the witch´s prophesise while Macbeth didn´t. Lady Macbeth is not a typical woman of Shakespeare time in this play. In Shakespeare time a woman would just be at home cooking, cleaning and looking after the children. They wouldn´t have an active role in a mans life. However Shakespeare has made Lady Macbeth out to be unorthodox and talking to Macbeth about his problems, insulting him, doubting his honour and courage. A woman might have been badly beaten for saying something like that but Shakespeare has made Macbeth tolerate that and actually it has some effect on him.
The affect of her opening soliloquy on the audience (17centuary) is quite great. Lady Macbeth is calling evil spirits to come and ‘unsex her´. She is showing how she wants to be filled with the ‘direst cruelty´. The audience in Shakespeare´s and today would be shocked at hearing such things. It starts to make the audience think ‘ who is this woman´ and ‘how can she think such things.´ Lady Macbeth role in Duncan´s death is also quite significant. When Macbeth doubted himself and whether he should kill his dear friend she was right there to ‘egg him on´ and say thing like ‘dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you´. These kind of images would have shaken Macbeth up a little and made him think of what kind of man he was if his own wife can say she would kill him but the only reason why she couldn´t is because ‘he looked like her father.´ After Macbeth has killed Duncan she is instructing him to ‘wash the blood of his hands´ ‘get rid of the daggers´. When Macduff questions Macbeth about the murder of Duncan she faints to draw suspicion away from herself and Macbeth. I don´t think she contributed to Macbeth´s downfall after Duncan´s murder. That was all Macbeth´s own doing and Lady Macbeth was worried by his doings. Macbeth´s character changes throughout the play. At the start he is a war hero that has defeated the enemy, then he becomes greedy and wanting power, then doubt comes into his mind on whether he should be killing Duncan and after that he becomes obsessed with the prophesies and wanting to get rid of anyone that doubts him as king. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is introduced as the conquering hero who has just defeated the enemy. Also at the end he is shown as a warrior who has died in battle. This is when Macduff kills him. In a way he is sort of a tragic hero because he was a hero at the start but power hungry his greed got the better of him and this was quite tragic. His meeting with the witches make him consider himself as king. Before his encounter and during it he was surprised by their prophecies and intrigued after that. He begins to ponder the idea of being king while Banquo dismisses the gins to ponder the idea of being king while Banquo dismisses the witches. Lady Macbeth influence on him is big in a way that has a subconscious effect on Macbeth. When Macbeth begins to ponder and lose faith in the idea of killing the king she redirects him back onto the path of killing Duncan. I also think Shakespeare was also showing that Macbeth tolerated her and they must have loved each other very much, but that love deteriorated as the play went on because Macbeth didn´t involve her in the deaths on Banquo and Macduff´s family. Before the murder of Duncan Shakespeare makes Macbeth doubt whether he should kill Duncan or not. When he says things like ‘I am his kinsman´ ‘hath borne his faculties so meek´ and ‘so clear in his great office´ he is saying what a good man Duncan is and how he is meant to be loyal to him. But he says it is only his ‘vaulting ambition´ that is driving him on. Then when he asks Lady Macbeth if he has asked for him ,he says ‘we will proceed no further´ but Lady Macbeth ask him if he is ‘afeard´ or if ‘art in desire´ of his to kill Duncan. Macbeth at this point must have been swinging either side of if he should kill Duncan. When Lady Macbeth ask him ‘live a coward in thine own esteem´ I think he gets very annoyed this is shown by his reaction ‘I dare do all that may become a man´ and after Lady Macbeth´s has said how she has ‘given suck´ and how it would make Macbeth ‘more than what he is´ if he killed Duncan. This is where he changes his mind. Macduff joins forces with Duncan´s son Malcolm and the English to go and defeat Macbeth and give the Scottish throne to the rightful king. Macbeth was killed at the end of a play by ‘ a man not born of woman´ (Macduff) just as the witches´ prophesised. I think the play ends like this because the witches got involved by their prophesy and then Macbeth being overly confident of himself and saying how Macduff couldn´t ‘slain´ him. Like in al good plays the good guy always wins. The person who is mostly responsible for Duncan´s death and Macbeth´s downfall is Macbeth. At the start a good man cannot be influenced by witches. Banquo, a good man wasn´t influenced or believed in any of the witches but Macbeth however was. There had to be some desire to be king inside him that would make him kill. All the witches and lady Macbeth did was coach him and make him realise his true potential. And even the witches didn´t do that they just said he would be king and not how he was going to become king.